The Radicalism of the American Revolution

by Gordon S. Wood
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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 172

The Radicalism of the American Revolution is a nonfiction work written by Brown University professor Gordon S. Wood. Published in 1993, Wood's book explains the American colonies declaration of independence was more than a political development; it was a powerful example of revolutionism that transformed history.

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“The idea of labor, of hard work, leading to increased productivity was so novel, so radical, in the overall span of Western history that most ordinary people, most of those who labored, could scarcely believe what was happening to them. Labor had been so long thought to be the natural and inevitable consequence of necessity and poverty that most people still associated it with slavery and servitude. Therefore any possibility of oppression, any threat to the colonists' hard earned prosperity, any hint of reducing them to the poverty of other nations, was especially frightening; for it seemed likely to slide them back into the traditional status of servants or slaves, into the older world where labor was merely a painful necessity and not a source of prosperity.”

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